Consolidated Breweries Plc has assured its shareholders of improved returns on their investment in the current financial year.
Speaking at its annual general meeting, last week, Professor (Mrs.) Oyin Odutola-Olurin, Chairman of the company, stated that it will continue to invest in the upgrade of its facilities and acquisition of capital equipment so as to ensure an increase in its production capacities.
She said that in spite of the impact of global crisis combined with local challenges like further deterioration of road infrastructure, power supply, communications as well as security and credit issues, Consolidated Breweries Plc made an impressive performance in the 2009 operating year.
According to her, the performance was as a result of the steady growth of â€˜33â€™ Export Lager Beer, and Hi_Malt non alcoholic drink and the successful introduction of Turbo King, Dark Ale in the western part of the country.
Odutola_Olurin added that the acquisition of 95.77 per cent of DIL/Maltex, producers of Maltex non alcoholic malt drink also accounted for the impressive performance during the last operating year.
She said, â€œThe aforementioned factors resulted in an increase in the Groupâ€™s turnover by 18 per cent to N20.7 billion, while profit before taxation dipped slightly by 4.5 per cent to N4.1 billion, largely due to a high increase in energy cost.â€
She noted that the companyâ€™s net profit after taxation declined by 10.5 per cent to N2.7 billion, mostly due to interest charges incurred on a loan taken to facilitate investments in production assets as well as higher net taxation.
Shareholders of the company commended the management and approved the proposed final dividend of N3.52 kobo per share, making the total dividend paid over the fiscal year 2009 N1.39 billion. This represents a payout of 52 per cent of net profit.
Odutola-Olurin explained that the reduced dividend payout compared to what obtained in the previous years became imperative in order to continue the investments in capital equipment necessary to expand capacity and remain one of the leading operators in the nationâ€™s Beverage industry.
â€œThis will keep the Company on the pathway to future success and greater dividend payout hereafterâ€, she said.
According to her, 2010 however, promises to be a fulfilling year as there are concrete signs of recovery of the general slump already noticed towards the second part of 2009.
â€œNevertheless, with the recent entry of new international competitors, it becomes imperative to intensify investments in the next few years not only in production assets but also in the brands of Consolidated Breweries Plc,â€ she said.
She added that the process has already started with the recent introduction of new labels for â€˜â€™33’â€™ Export and Hi_Malt as well as the launch of new advertising and trade marketing campaigns.